This article was originally published in ZU News.
A recent change in parking assignments which allows residential students to park in Lot A, formerly known as the commuter lot, has caused uproar among commuters.
This change was put in place at the beginning of this school year to protect the safety of residential students.
“The parking assignments were made because the Department of Campus Safety hired consultants to do a safety inspection of our campus,” James Whitfield, the president of the Student Government Association (SGA) said.
“They found 52 areas of suggestion to be in refinement of Campus Safety policies in order to increase safety for our students,” he continued. “One of those changes was to allow residential students to park nearer to where they lived in order to reduce any potential threats or incidents that may have happened on campus. That review was done over the course of last year. This is as a result of that review.”
Since there are not enough parking spaces in any upperclassman living areas for students with parking permits, Lot A is now the overflow lot for residential students to avoid an unsafe situation by walking to Lot H on west campus late at night.
Whitfield received several statistics from Campus Safety Chief Tim Finneran concerning the overselling of spots, or selling more parking permits than there were parking spots available, last year.
There were 111 spots oversold in the Shire Mods and 214 spots oversold in University Village. Freshmen who live in the residence halls are also now allowed to park in Lot A during the day. There were 282 freshmen passes sold last year.
If consistent with last year’s total, potentially 607 overflow residential drivers can now park in Lot A, which is 101 more than than the lot can hold, not including commuters.
However, commuters are not to be forgotten.
SGA held a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 30 where students voiced their concerns about the new parking situation. Julie Poladian, a senior liberal studies major, has commuted since her freshman year at APU.
“I’ve never had the luxury of living on campus. Living on campus, you have easy access to everything on campus—your classes, your jobs, whatever it may be,” Poladian said.
“I have to travel from Arcadia. That’s about a 20 minute commute and a big variable in that is traffic. Now that I have to park on west campus, that’s an extra 15 minutes I have to add on to my commute. Some professors don’t pardon tardiness. If that happens too many times, your grade is docked. I’m working very hard to maintain my grades and to maintain good rapport with my teachers and my bosses. That is now in jeopardy.”
Poladian said she arrived an hour before her shift for work on Monday at 7:30 a.m. and still couldn’t find a spot, so she called Campus Safety. She said that the officer she spoke to was terse and unhelpful when she asked why the lot was already full.
“That is disrespectful and I know that is not what this university stands for. I do not deserve to be treated like that when I am paying thousands of dollars to get an education here,” Poladian said. “What that communicates to me is that people who live on campus are a higher priority, that their safety is more important than the commuters’ safety.”
Poladian was not the only commuter who was outraged at the parking assignment. Eric Hanson, a senior communication studies major, has also commuted every year without experiencing any real problems until now.
“I have morning classes every morning. I’ve already been late twice,” Hanson said. “I showed up early, there’s no spots (in Lot A), so I had to drive all the way to west and the trolley wasn’t there. So I had to walk a sweaty mess into class, 20 minutes late, because somebody else who lives across the street needs to be safe. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
SGA will be collecting commuter comments and communicating them with Campus Safety in attempt to resolve the situation.
Update: Campus Safety sent out an email Sept. 5 with updated parking information. The new parking assignments were effective immediately and reverted back to previous arrangements–disallowing overflow of students to park in Lot A.
“The new parking assignments were met with concern from the Student Government Association and several APU departments, due to the impact and lack of East Campus parking for commuter students and faculty/staff members,” the email read.
Commuters will again have access 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to all parking spaces.